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College Graduation – Is it a K-12 issue?

May 10, 2012

We know a few things about our students and college.  One fact is that students from Saline High School are going to college (two and four year) at a very high rate.  Within two years of graduating from Saline, 91% of our students are enrolled in a degree program at a two or four year college.  This greatly exceeds the national average.  It is the highest in the region, and this is a region that exceeds the state and national averages overall.

The other thing we know is that the economic difference between a student who earns a high school diploma and has some college credits and a student with just a high school diploma is not significant.  However, the economic impact of a college degree makes a significant difference.  Clearly, the key is not just “going” to college, the key is “graduating” from college.

Based upon the recent data for the National Student Clearinghouse, an organization that tracks this information, 63% of the Saline High School Class of 2005 graduated from college by 2011. Compared to national averages and peer districts this is a strong number.  However, there is room for growth – with 91% enrolled in two years after high school and 63% with diplomas – we have 30% that did not complete college in that window.

Ultimately, this data raises more questions than it answers.  While we celebrate the success of our students, we know there is an opportunity to learn from this data.  What are the leading indicators in High School that predict college completion?  We need to determine the experiences that occur while they are enrolled in Saline Area Schools that will help them finish their college education.

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